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Old 04-15-2012, 11:27 AM   post #1 of 29
clockit
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Thumbs up NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

I was recently in the market for a small trailer and was pondering the Harbor Freight 1720lb 4x8 heavy duty trailer. However, the local HF store was out of stock, so I looked elsewhere. Folks on this site have recommended Carry-On trailers so I visited their website, liked the specs and bought a 5x8 at Lowes.

When I got home I realized the Lowes model was different then what I was looking at on the Carry-On website. Apparently, Lowes (locally at least) is carrying a scaled back version the model the Tractor Supply Store carries.

The differences I noticed included:
  • 12" versus 13" wheels plus bigger fenders
  • 9" sides versus 11" sides
  • 38" gate versus a 49" gate
  • TSC model is 150# heavier
  • Both models are the same price - $699.00 as of 4/15/12



So, I returned the trailer to Lowes and bought one at TSC. I liked the TSC model much better. However, it was immediately obvious that I was still going to need to do some upgrades including:
  • I put the wiring into looming so It wasn't hanging loose
  • Since the trailer was already rusting and I knew I was going to cover the mesh with wood, I applied rust treatment, rubberized undercoating and two coats of fresh paint on the lower frame and mesh decking.
  • The tongue bar was very loose and rattling like crazy so, I added a 3rd bolt and tightened all three.
  • Added a Reese swing away trailer jack
  • Added a 5/4" treated wood deck

Putting on the wood deck was pretty straight forward. I attached treated 2x4's across the width of the trailer. Since they just need to be held in place for the deck boards, I only used 3 bolts for each piece and attached them to the angle iron on the frame.



The tongue bar is in the way of securing the last board, which is the small center one. For this board I used a self tapping screw in this area.



Overall the deck looks really good.





Since this is a mass produced trailer, I won't assume is was assembled correctly and will check and repack the bearings with marine grade wheel bearing grease.

I did notice one problem that became really easy to see once the contrast of the boards was there - the deck is a bit warped. As you can see in the below picture, the left side of the deck droops a bit. It is much easier to see in person.



So far, I've only loaded a few hundred pounds on this but I have to say this is definitely the loudest trailer I have ever pulled! This thing rattles like crazy no matter how small the bumps in the road are!

I've tried everything I know how to do to quiet this thing down: I added a third bolt to the tongue bar and tightened all three down, I even bought an Anti-Rattle Hitch pin. I'm hoping once I get a greater load on this and the springs break in a bit, it quiets down. If not it will be on the market because the noise is intolerable. If anyone knows how to quiet this down - please let me know!

Other than that I think the value is good for what it is and with proper care should last a long time.

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Old 04-15-2012, 02:33 PM   post #2 of 29
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Default Re: NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

Nice report. When you were towing the one from Lowes I'm assuming it was quiet? Could the larger gate on the TSC trailer be doing the rattling? Visually there seems to be a big difference for the same price. How's the build quality on the two? About the same?
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:42 PM   post #3 of 29
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Default Re: NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

I've been looking at trailers too. I needed something smaller to haul my mower on. Seen TSC put the 7x12 trailers on sale and picked one up. Mine has two gates the rear and on side and wood floor. Theres no excessive rattle in mine. Good build very happy with it. Later on i will rewire it because i don't like how the wires are run. The only thing i can think of that could be causing your noise would be the expanded metal floor not laying flat on the crossmembers
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:48 PM   post #4 of 29
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Default Re: NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

Great job. I did basically the same upgrades on the same trailer.

http://www.mytractorforum.com/showthread.php?t=149587

I checked Lowes also, it was a joke.
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:10 PM   post #5 of 29
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Default Re: NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

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Originally Posted by jim335 View Post
Nice report. When you were towing the one from Lowes I'm assuming it was quiet? Could the larger gate on the TSC trailer be doing the rattling? Visually there seems to be a big difference for the same price. How's the build quality on the two? About the same?
Jim -

Yeah, the gate is probably part to the noise - the trailer is real stiff and bounces a lot. I really hope the springs soften up a bit and absorb at least some of the bumps - that would help

I think the build quality is about the same on both models. Although, the TSC trailer sits higher due the larger tires and as a result it rides level for me. The Lowes trailer sat too low and even with a 5 1/4" drop hitch on my Chevy SUV, it tilted back.

Last edited by clockit; 04-15-2012 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:18 PM   post #6 of 29
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Default Re: NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

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Great job. I did basically the same upgrades on the same trailer.
Our trailers are practically twins!

I see you got yours almost 18 months ago. What's your opinion now that you've had it for while and how's it holding up?
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:46 PM   post #7 of 29
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Default Re: NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

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Jim -

Yeah, the gate is probably part to the noise - the trailer is real stiff and bounces a lot. I really hope the springs soften up a bit and absorb at least some of the bumps - that would help

I think the build quality is about the same on both models. Although, the TSC trailer sits higher due the larger tires and as a result it rides level for me. The Lowes trailer sat too low and even with a 5 1/4" drop hitch on my Chevy SUV, it tilted back.
My experience with these kind of trailers is that they get kind of tail heavy with the gate on. Try and give it some more tongue weight.
On my old trailer I usually put a couple of weights in the front if I was driving it empty (to pick up a tractor). This quieted it down a lot.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:00 PM   post #8 of 29
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Default Re: NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

check the expanded steel for looseness. probably a bunch of spots that could use some welds to keep it from banging against the supports of the trailer.

looks good tho!
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:27 PM   post #9 of 29
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Default Re: NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

Not the best pictures but here is my 5 x 8 that i purchased a few years ago tractor supply. Had not really used it much in the last 2 years, but been mowing my son's yard since his in the shop and got interested on making some improvements. I put pressure treated plywood on the bed and some 1x4 decking boards across the gate which really helped when riding the mower up. It is a JD x320 and pretty heavy and the mesh would dip enough that the corner of the deck would catch on the hinge where the gate is mounted to the deck. With the 1x4 boards, no problem. I made the front tool box holder and angled it at the corners out of galvanized angle iron and put some old pressure treated 2x4's that i had laying around for the last few years and painted them black. Plan on bolting a tool box to it that will be just large enough that I can take the powervac unit that goes with the bagger and put it in it. Even at 5 feet wide with the powervac installed its not wide enough to fit the John Deere on the trailer. I plan on taking some old insulated sleeping bags and line the inside of the box with it so it will not damage the powervac unit. Now going to look at replacing the lights with LED lights and parallel off them to another set that I plan on mounting at the top of the back of the gate. I also plan on mounted a LED backup light and have a switch mounted inside my Jeep so that I can turn on the back up lights at night from inside the Jeep. Wish I had taken a before picture but put all of this together this morning so that I could carry my JD over to my son's house and mow his yard. Once the pressure treated plywood weather's I plan on painting it black. Hard to tell from the picture but I spray painted the whole frame yesterday with flat black Rustoleum paint and this afternoon sprayed the whole fram with same type of rubber coating that you dip tools in.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:37 PM   post #10 of 29
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Default Re: NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

the tailgate on my northern tool trailer (5x8 with 12in wheels) rattles pretty loud but i just put a bungee cord from it down to the trailer bed and it tows pretty quite.

i cut the hinges and made the big tailgate removable and built a 10" tall one. which works great for hauling longer boards. i did get a funny look from the lumberyard guy when i picked up three 20ft 2x4s. i only had 10ft sticking out behind the trailer!

without the three 60 lbs bags of concrete, it would of had negative tongue weight. (i picked it up first thing sunday morning, so i was the only car on the road the whole way home)

(trailer is about 5 yrs old in this pic)
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Old 06-02-2012, 02:44 PM   post #11 of 29
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Default Re: NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

UPDATE: Over the last few months I've used the trailer quite a bit and noticed that some of the wood screws on the deck started pulling through, which was probably from all of the flexing back and forth. The problem wasn't really that bad but since I never did like the look of the 2x4''s showing underneath the trailer, I decided to remove the deck and remount the treated 5/4 boards directly to the steel framing.

I removed the Primeguard deck screws and remounted the boards using 2 types of Teks brand self-tapping screws - see photo below.



The heads of the new screws are larger and will hold the wood better over time. Also, I think this look is much cleaner and it's only a few dollars more for the screws than for the treated 2 x 4's previously used. FYI - even though the screws are technically self-tapping, I stripped a few trying to drive them without a pilot hole. Plus drilling a pilot hole first is much faster.

As far as the noise I was complaining about - it's still pretty much there and is definitely coming from the trailer hitch receiver. I've tried a threaded sleeve to draw it down but it just rattles loose. Soon I'll be trying a wedge to see if that helps. The only time the trailer wasn't extremely noisy was when I was carrying a full load of top soil. I really like this trailer but the rattling is driving me crazy - so, I'm still open to any suggestions from the group...
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:02 PM   post #12 of 29
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Default Re: NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

Not sure exactly what you mean by trailer hitch receiver? You mean the receiver on the tow vehicle? If so, how is that specific to the trailer?

Mine can be a little noisy if I don't have enough tongue weight. Empty, I don't think you'll ever get rid of it completely.

Shimming the receiver should help. I'm surprised the anti-rattle pin didn't cure it. I have a receiver-mount bicycle rack that uses a bolt with a shoulder on it to secure the hitch and keep it from moving around. I wonder if something like that would work, and would be strong enough to carry the load?
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:17 PM   post #13 of 29
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Default Re: NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

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I really like this trailer but the rattling is driving me crazy - so, I'm still open to any suggestions from the group...
Windows up, radio up

P.S. why not use carriage bolts instead of self tapping?
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:25 PM   post #14 of 29
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Default Re: NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

Not sure if you've tried but,most folks think small trailer tires should run 60lbs.of air?? I run about 30psi.unless I'm loading it real heavy.Takes alot of the bounce out.
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:21 AM   post #15 of 29
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Default Re: NEW Carry-On 5x8 Trailer Adventure - Lots of Pictures

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Not sure exactly what you mean by trailer hitch receiver? You mean the receiver on the tow vehicle? If so, how is that specific to the trailer?

Mine can be a little noisy if I don't have enough tongue weight.
Initially I wasn't sure where the noise was coming from and after using the trailer several times I was able to confirm the noise wasn't the trailer per se, but rather it was coming from the receiver. However, it's still related to the trailer in the sense that this is the only trailer I've pulled that makes the receiver chatter excessively.

So no doubt it's at least partly, if not entirely, a loading / tongue weight issue. However, the loads I've put on this included: dozens of 40# bags of mulch, about a ton of top soil, a load of lumber, and a load of small equipment and boxes. The only time it didn't chatter was when loaded with the top soil. So, apparently the noise can be stopped - but loading a ton each time just isn't practical.

Going forward I'll be sure to put as much weight up front as practical. I'll also try the receiver wedge and lowering the tire pressure and I still hope that maybe the springs just need to break in a little more

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P.S. why not use carriage bolts instead of self tapping?
John, carriage bolts would have worked fine but I found drilling the larger holes (when mounting the 2 x 4's in the first go around ) a pain in the butt and the wood to metal self-tapper's were definitely faster and provide a secure connection, so I went with them.

Dude11 - I hadn't given any thought to lowering the air pressure - I will give it a try, thanks


Last edited by clockit; 06-03-2012 at 12:28 AM.
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